Bigger and Better
Outer Reef created the 700 by looking at what works in earlier models.
The Outer Reef 700 is basically a stretched version of the company’s 65. But then again it’s not. It’s not right or wrong that you make a larger boat from a smaller one—it’s how you do it that matters. Let’s just say this one was done the right way.
When Outer Reef president, Jeff Druek, found that many of his customers loved a particular boat but “wanted it a bit longer,” he made the decision that all of his hull molds would be longer than initially needed. The mold for the Outer Reef 65, for example, can be used to build a boat as long as 72 feet. “I refuse to just tack on an extension to an Outer Reef,” he says. “Every hull is monolithic, one-piece construction.” And he’s right. The hulls are hand-laid FRP with PVC core sandwich construction above the waterline, and include a vinylester barrier for protection from osmosis.
The accommodations forward of amidships remain essentially unchanged by the extra length, leaving the full-beam master suite and the two guest cabins as they are on the 65. One optional layout on the 65 was to turn the lazarette into a two-bunk crew cabin with access either through a transom door or via a door in the hanging locker of the master stateroom. The transom door is less than ideal at sea or in bad weather, and no owner wants the crew trudging through his private quarters.
With the 700, however, the added length contributes 3 feet to the saloon and 2 feet to the cockpit (and lazarette), thus solving both problems. While there is still direct access to the crew’s quarters and engine room through the transom for use in port, a much more civilized stairwell in the aft corner of the saloon provides all-weather secure entry to the crew area. One look around this space and it’s clear that Druek and the Outer Reef designers clearly understand the adage, “A happy captain makes a happy ship.” A private captain’s cabin with a queen-size berth and direct access to a large head with shower is to port, and a comfortably sized crew cabin with bunks is to starboard, sharing the single head.
The pilothouse is clearly the heart of the Outer Reef 700, and it’s likely where guests will gather when under way. A large settee is raised behind the helm for good visibility, with a gorgeous teak table for drinks and munchies.
A pair of 503-horsepower Cat C9s are the standard engine package, and I can’t imagine why you would want to opt for a pair of C12s with 705 horspower apiece because you’d just be pushing more water, burning more fuel, and in the end, you’d only move the hammers-down-flat-out top speed from 13.8 knots to 14 knots as shown on Outer Reef’s own performance curves. Every owner needs to find his own “sweet spot” that balances how fast he wants to get somewhere with what he’s willing to spend, but an Outer Reef 700 like my test boat (with the added tank) will take you nearly 4,300 miles at a bit under 6 knots, or about 2,600 miles at nearly 8 knots. Your call.
Solidly built, comfortably arranged, and thoughtfully outfitted, the Outer Reef 700 should clearly be on your short list even if you’re looking for a smaller offshore cruising yacht.